Rugby World Cup: Australia leads race to host 2027, USA 2031

Australia is reportedly the leading contender to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup with the USA in contention to host the global tournament four years later. 

World Rugby recently announced the criteria for the upcoming World Cup, with the formal bidding process for 2027 and 2031 starting in November next year. 

France will stage the tournament in four years' time.

Australia has previously declared its intent to bid for the 2027 Rugby World Cup, with South Africa, Russia, USA and Argentina also contenders.

England Rugby Football Union Bill Sweeney believes if Australia won the rights to host the World Cup, it would help the sport massively down under.

"You would think 2027 would need to go somewhere southern hemisphere," Sweeney told the BBC.

"Australia is a really important rugby nation, who have had some financial challenges.

"Anything that World Rugby can do to support the game in Australia would be supported by all of us, I think."

During the recent World Cup in Japan, USA coach Gary Gold said America should host the event in 2027.

Sweeney adding that there was "a massive opportunity for the game to kick off" there, but added that hosting the event in 2031 would be better. 

Hosting it in 2031 rather than 2027 would also avoid the rugby showpiece being sandwiched between the Football World Cup in 2026 - which is hosted by the USA, Canada and Mexico - and the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028. 

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont declared the 2019 tournament in Japan as "probably the greatest" World Cup. 

"As we look to the future, I can confirm today that the World Rugby Council has approved the implementation of a dual host selection process for 2027 and 2031," he said earlier this week.

"The dual selection process will be launched in November 2020 and will enable World Rugby to select an optimal combination of hosts rather like what we've achieved here."

World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper said he hoped the council would be willing to take a risk and take the tournament to new territories as they did in awarding Japan the first World Cup in Asia.

"[Japan] have been magnificent and warm hosts. We really hope other unions find the courage now to throw their hat into the ring to host a Rugby World Cup, perhaps as an emerging nation," he said.

"I hope that it also gives courage to World Rugby to be bold in decisions as they were in 2009 when they chose Japan."